Ray Obiedo: Modern World

With a sound clearly influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery and George Benson, guitarist Ray Obiedo delivers a set of sporadically engaging light pop-jazz tunes on Modern World (72438-47490-2-6; 49:25). Saddled with some washed-out, cold arrangements, Obiedo comes across as Benson-lite, wielding a clipped and chorusey-sounding axe on tingly tunes like “Carousel” and “Never.” Well-placed percussions and other assorted spices occasionally lift Obiedo’s tunes above the synth syrup, however, distinguishing “A Thousand Reasons” from the glut of boudoir ballads, and opening holes for exposed flute and trumpet play on “Slight Accent.” The album’s most exotic timing piece is “Sunset,” with an engaging calypso feel which sets off Obiedo’s guitar work nicely, and holds promise for bolder future explorations.